For the last few years, smartphones and cloud computing have been major trends in the tech industry. Today many mobile applications depend on having an Internet connection to access and process data. In many respects, smartphones act as a portable tether to the Internet and the Cloud — allowing people to access their data anywhere and allowing messages, notifications, and updates to access people wherever they might be.
It’s often much easier to put up a mobile-friendly webpage than it is to develop a dedicated smartphone app, with the result that their users still stay focused on the traditional “Cloud” interface of a dynamic web page. Also part and parcel of this is the limited nature of smartphones. Though mobile processors and hardware are getting faster all the time, the computing horsepower of a smartphone is still stunted compared with normal desktop machines. Therefore, a cloud solution allows people to push their business and personal computational work onto far-off servers, giving them the equivalent functionality of a large server farm while carrying around a slim phone.
The Latest Trend: Screen Size
One of the major recent developments in smartphones is the consumer demand for larger screens. The trend represents an appetite for more information on a single display, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the Cloud industry. According to an online survey of some 23,000 consumers conducted by Accenture in 23 different countries, about 57% (or 13,000) said they would be buying smartphones in 2014 or 2015. Some 6,250 of those buyers (48%) said they were leaning towards so-called “phablets,” which is to say phones whose screens range from five to seven inches. (Traditional smartphones tend towards the iPhone screen form factor, which is to say in the four to five inches.)
Samsung, the company which originally defined the “phablet” with the introduction of its large-screen Galaxy Note back in 2010, is already working to take advantage of this. Samsung’s engineers are putting the final touches on the fourth generation Galaxy Note device with plans to introduce it in September. Device metadata has been spotted around the web, and benchmarks suggest it will offer incredible processing power.
For Cloud providers, in other words, the trend towards “phablets” is a mixed blessing. On one hand the large screens are ideal for displaying a great deal of information and taking full advantage of the back-end processing capabilities inherent to cloud computing. On the other hand, “phablets” are approaching tablets in terms of computing power, which suggests the pendulum may swing back to on-device computing instead.
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